Don't duck racism' was the popular slogan used by speakers at the Community Wide Dialogue's Fifth Annual Duck Race to End Racism. With roughly 3,000 in attendance, the Duck Race was not only a great excuse for a family outing to the Syracuse Inner Harbor, but was also the Community Wide Dialogue's way of sharing their message of acceptance with the community.
As children of all ages and races bounced about with ducks painted on their faces, the festivities included a marching band, food stands and free ice cream, performances by a number of local dance groups, cooperative games, and of course, three intense heats of duck racing.
Plastic ducks had been distributed to the various classrooms and companies that had planned to participate in the event, and were decorated and submitted for the big competition on Saturday June 9. The first heat was the corporate race between ducks decorated by the event's sponsors. Syracuse University, National Grid and M&T Bank each donated $10,000 to the CWD, 28 other businesses and institutions donated $1,000, and more than thirty other area sponsors made contributions.
In the second heat, more than 40 third grade classes from around the region raced their ducks. The third and final heat was with smaller ducks that cost five dollars to sponsor, and the prizes included a $1,000 shopping spree at Carousel Center, a $250 Best Buy shopping spree, and bicycles.
Corporate leaders and speakers spoke on the event, telling why it is important to promote equality and accept differences in the workplace and in the community.
"This is the first year that M&T has participated in the event, and this is probably one of the best things we have done in this community," said Allen Naples, regional president of M&T Bank. "When you look around at all the different faces and nationalities here, this is exactly what it's about."